Tall Poppy Syndrome & Gina Rinehart – The stigma against the wealthy

If you are an Australian, you would know exactly what I mean when I say the words ‘tall poppy syndrome’. However, a good definition of it is “a tall poppy is a successful person or achiever who, as a result, is the target of jealousy and grudging remarks.” The goal is to make everyone the same, but the result is no one strives to be great or believes that change is possible“. Essentially, in my humble interpretation, Australian’s are a very sarcastic people and when someone is an achiever, instead of using that person as a benchmark and an inspiration to accomplish their dreams and personal success, jealousy prevails and people will seek to bad mouth or vilify others to bring them down to there level. Why? Because a lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of people achieving what they cannot, for whatever reason.

A week or so back, Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in Australia who inherited a mining and resources empire from her late father, was the subject of intense criticism in the public eye for her remarks about telling Australians to ‘get out of the pub’ and ‘work harder’ if they wanted to achieve higher personal wealth. Mrs Rinehart was quoted as saying “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.“
Many people criticized Mrs Rinehart’s view on attaining wealth and ‘working harder’ due to the fact that she is not a self made billionaire, only that she inherited her wealth from the hard work of her father. The simple fact of the matter is, financial wealth is sort of like saying ‘how long is a piece of string?’ there is no limit to how wealthy you can be, I mean the numerical values are never ending! ‘Infinity’ which refers to ‘something without limits’ is one way of describing it.

What I mean by this is, wealth can be generated from the smallest amount, a simple 5c piece invested smartly can generate a return. If a person so desires, they can create financial wealth and a business empire from nothing and attain financial wealth to the limit of their commitment and belief to achieving that goal.
Richard Branson is one such example, a self made achiever who set out to achieve.

What relevance does this have to Gina Rinehart? Well many people believe that Mrs Rinehart does not qualify to make the remarks she did (which I quoted above) as she inherited her wealth. Simple fact of the matter is, although she started with a substantial amount more than you or I, she is still building her wealth through investing and her business ventures. If she sat around all day, squandering all her wealth on personal pleasures and lifestyle, her wealth would dwindle.
Unfortunately the Australian stigma against the wealth is very much in line with ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ as I described earlier. What a large proportion of people don’t realise, is that most financially wealthy people (there are exceptions to the rule) invest their money, for their own financial benefit (through business ventures etc) which also provides the opportunity for other people to share in that success, i.e. through creating jobs.

The simple fact of the matter is, financial wealth is sort of like saying ‘how long is a piece of string?’ there is no limit to how wealthy you can be, I mean the numerical values are never ending! ‘Infinity’ which refers to ‘something without limits’ is one way of describing it.

Criticism was directed to Mrs Rinehart right from the very top of Australia’s leadership, from the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, who was quoted as saying “Ms Rinehart’s comments are an insult to the millions of Australian workers who go to work and slog it out to feed the kids and pay the bills“.

With all due respect to all families who work hard, maybe 3-4 jobs between couples with children in order to make ends meet, not every employment opportunity and industry is the pathway to success. Some jobs are at the lowest of the employment chain. However, despite a humble job where a person could start with essentially nothing, still has an opportunity to achieve a dream should they wish.
Lindsay Fox started driving truck’s for someone else, bought his own and founded what is now one of Australia’s largest transportation companies.
Richard Branson started selling records on the start of the street, bought his own shop and continued setting up businesses under the now universally known ‘Virgin’ brand spanning many diverse industries.
Gina Rinehart invests her inherited millions in projects which build her own wealth and also stimulates the Australian economy and creates jobs so that others may share in wealth.
Financial wealth does not just idly fall into your lap, it needs to be sought and striven for and there are various mechanics and things to understand when seeking it.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect there are accentuating circumstances which can prevent people from progressing and achieving.
However, the attitude of tall poppy syndrome and jealousy of people who are achieving and have achieved is not constructive. If you want to achieve financial wealth, what better place to start than changing your attitude.

Faith, optimism, positive influence, constant motivational input, desire and generosity. These words and concepts should become central to our thought process. Without the belief, the desire and the positive attitude of ‘I can do this’, how can we expect to achieve?